The Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 combines the performance of a light-duty gas machine with the lower price and fuss-free ownership of an electric snow blower. It's also one of the easiest snow blowers to use, receiving excellent scores for handling in a professional comparison. Reviews say this electric snow blower can clear up to 10 inches of light snow and is capable of moving heavier snow with slower passes.
As easy as pushing a lawn mower. The Toro 38381's light weight, excellent handling and simple controls make it a breeze to use, according to reviews. "It's fairly easy to maneuver and I enjoy not having to worry about gas engine maintenance during the off season," says one owner at HomeDepot.com. The 38381 is also quieter than most gas snow blowers, according to a professional comparison. Users can change chute direction while in motion, though height adjustments are made on the chute itself. With only minimal help from the paddles to propel forward, the 38381 works best on level surfaces.
Small but effective. The Toro 38381 is "small in stature, but packs plenty of muscle," says Bob Crewe, product expert at SnowBlowersDirect.com. According to experts, the 38381 is also very good at removing snow right down to the ground, and its 30-foot throwing distance almost matches gas machines. As a light-duty snow thrower, the 38381 is best for clearing up to 10-inch-thick powder or about six inches of wet snow. A few owners say it can clear larger amounts without clogging by taking slow passes. The 15-amp electric motor starts quickly with the push of a button.
Long life span. Users say although it weighs only 25 pounds, the Toro 38381 is well-built. One owner at SnowBlowersDirect.com explains, "its plastic parts are sturdy, with metal where needed" and only a small number of user reviews mention breakdowns or mechanical problems. The 38381 has been on the market for many years, building a long, reliable reputation. In fact, many owners report their 38381 lasting 10 years or longer. Toro continues to upgrade the model, and according to a few owners, the current version features improved controls for the chute. Toro includes a two-year warranty, which is the industry standard for snow blowers.
As part of their comprehensive report on snow blowers, editors rate about a dozen electrical-powered models. Machines are scored on power, speed, handling, controls and more. Testers use the same analysis on all snow blowers, so gas and electric models are compared side by side.
Review: Snow Blowers Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, December 2012
More than 340 owners review the Toro 38381 here, giving it an average score of 4.1 (out of 5) stars. The majority of owners says the snow blower powers through moderate snowfall with ease and can manage heavier loads by slowing down or taking extra passes.
Review: Toro 38381 18-Inch 15 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
The Toro 1800 Power Curve 38381 joins a handful of other top-rated Toro snow blowers at HomeDepot.com. More than 220 owners rate this machine, saying it's small but powerful, capable of cutting through high snow if you go slowly. Reviews from Toro's website are also included here.
Review: Toro 18 in. Power Curve Snow Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of October 2013
4. Snow Blowers Direct
The Toro 38381 has an A-minus rating and is recommended as one of the top three electric snow blowers by editors of SnowBlowersDirect.com, though they don't mention any direct product testing. Written reviews from about 80 owners, including one video review, mostly praise its performance and handling.
Review: Toro 1800 Power Curve Electric (18") 15-Amp Snow Blower, Editors of and contributors to SnowBlowersDirect.com, As of October 2013
The Toro 38381 is ranked as the third best snow blower at Viewpoints.com, with a score of 87 (out of 100). About 30 users give it an average of 4 out of 5 stars for performance, handling, durability, ease of use and engine power; they say it's best for removing a light snowfall.
Review: Toro 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower 38381 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of October 2013
With 4.7 stars from more than 15 owners, the Toro 38381 is the highest-rated snow blower at AceHardware.com. Owners list its light weight, maneuverability, ability to clear the pavement and long throwing distance as top attributes.
Review: Toro 18in Electric Power Curve Snow Thrower (38381), Contributors to AceHardware.com, As of October 2013